Women & Leadership Links

Women Protest Shariah Law in Mali – The New York Times 
More than 100 women marched on Saturday to protest the imposition of strict Islamic law in the northern Malian town of Timbuktu, but were dispersed by gunmen linked to Al Qaeda who fired shots in the air, witnesses said.

Islamists linked to Al Qaeda’s North African wing, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, have been in control of Timbuktu since April, and have steadily imposed their interpretation of Shariah Law, banning music and forcing women to wear veils.

“Life has become more and more difficult with these people,” Cisse Toure, one of the protesters, said by telephone. “We are tired. They impose veils on us and now they are hunting us like bandits for not wearing them.” Estimates for the number of women who took part ranged from 100 to 300.

For the first time, a woman is running for the leadership of the political party of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most powerful Islamist group. Sabah el-Saqari says she wants to increase female participation in politics and even defends a woman’s right to run for president, a stance her organization rejects.

Liberals are not impressed, calling her candidacy a cynical attempt by the Brotherhood to promote a misleading view of its stance on women.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is very concerned with its image with the West, but not with the Egyptian people,” Bahy Eddin Hassan, director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights said. “They are doing their best to market themselves to the West and this is their most recent means of doing so.”

“They are still using women as decor,” said Nehad Abou-Qomsan, head of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights.

In an interview with Associated Press, al-Saqari echoed the Brotherhood’s conservative views, saying that Shariah laws are the top parameter. She argued that she can’t call for a law banning female genital circumcision or limiting the marriage age for girls to prevent child marriage.


Now, for the first time in the course’s 35-year history, the Marine Corps is putting the first women through its grueling Infantry Officer Course: 86 days crawling through obstacle courses, lugging heavy machine guns, navigating the woods at night.

The official reason for the prohibition against women in combat roles stems from “job-related physical requirements” that would exclude the vast majority of women.

The Marine Corps won’t disclose their names. The women have been promised anonymity for volunteering to take part in this research study.

Eventually, the Marines hope to have 100 female volunteers to see how many — if any — can pass this tough test that’s required of all Marine infantry officers.

“You don’t have to be in the absolute best shape of your peers coming here,” Captain Brian Perkins says. “But if you’re mentally tough, you can outlast a lot of guys.”


JAIPUR: Women leaders in selected rural areas will now have a mobile application to quickly get information about government policies, programmes and schemes.

Besides this, web application and community radio will also be in place to respond to their queries as part of a initiative taken by the UN Women for capacity building and transformation in South Asia.

UN Women’s executive director Michelle Bachelet was speaking at a day-long leadership summit titled ‘Dialogue for Change: Women in Politics, Policies and Livelihood’ where she also launched the first virtual centre that will be set up for this programme.

UN official John Borgoyary said that women will be able to share their problems, concerns and queries with the user group through the mobile application, Wi-Net, which is developed on android platform.


As Emily White, a Facebook executive, put it to me, “Forget the balance, this is the merge”, meaning that work and play and kids and sleep are all jumbled up in the same 24-hour period. (White came up with this term after she finally managed a night out alone with her husband, and they spent half the dinner staring at their iPhones.)

But the work culture is still a revelation. Without a lot of official committees and HR red tape, Silicon Valley is figuring out the single most vexing problem for ambitious working women, one everyone thought was unsolvable: how to let them spend time with their children without ruining their careers

The industry has by no means solved the ultimate problem, meaning that there are just as few female heads of companies as there are in any other elite sector. But it gives us a glimpse of the work culture of the future, where face time isn’t so relevant and people take it for granted that women – and men – can be really ambitious and manage a life, too.

The women of Silicon Valley do not live in such a shiny, detached bubble that they don’t recognise sexism. You would have to be blind to walk through the offices of Facebook or Google every day and not notice the sea of mostly male programmers, or the “frat house”, as Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, calls it.

As they pulled and tugged at the ropes attached to the chariot of Kumari, the living goddess, they realised that they were stepping into a bastion where no women had gone before. On Wednesday, nearly 300 women pulled the Kumari’s chariot—as part of the weeklong Indra Jatra—and became the first ones to do so in the festival’s 258-year-old history.
The procession of Kumari and of deities Ganesh and Bhairav take place for three days during the festivities along different routes. But throughout the festival’s history no woman had taken part in it. 

The idea to include women was forwarded by Nani Hira Maharjan, member of Jyapu Maha Guthi, a social organization, to Mohan Krishna Dangol, chief of the Indra Jatra organizing committee.

“I was afraid Dangol would not be interested. But he seemed both surprised and excited,” she told ‘Republica’. Maharjan took part in the procession with her teenaged daughter.


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